Politics

Rumsfeld to Obama: Learn From our Mistakes

Former Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, May 25, 2011 (Fox News Photo)

Former Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, May 25, 2011 (Fox News Photo)

On a visit to Fort Bliss in Texas, former Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld discussed President Obama's desire to cut the defense budget by $400 billion over the next 12 years, saying Obama and those in Congress who back up that idea should learn from the slip-ups of other administrations.

"If they're going to make mistakes, why don't they just make original mistakes, instead of ones we made three or four times in the past?" Rumsfeld asked.

"About every 20 years some presidential administration afterward decides they're going to cut back on defense. And every time they do it, they're wrong."

The defense budget was cut back after World War II, as well as the Korean and Cold Wars. Now, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, Obama has proposed drastically cutting defense spending in his 2012 budget.

"Every time they do it, they have to go back and fix it," he stated.

Rumsfeld also gave his thoughts on Obama's recommendation to the Middle East of bringing back the 1967 borders involving Israel.

"It is unthinkable to try and re-instate the 1967 borders of Israel. It's not defensible, it shouldn't be done, and it won't be done because no Israeli leader can permit it."

Rumsfeld also discussed Obama's shuffling of the national security team: Current Defense Sec. Gates moving on and CIA Director Leon Panetta taking over for him, and Gen. David Petraeus transitioning to head up the CIA.

"I think Secretary Gates has done a good job. Leon Panetta has a good background to take that job," said Rumsfeld.

But he warned changes in the defense team shouldn't happen as frequently as they do.

"I think changing that office that often is dangerous," Rumsfeld said.

When asked about any changes he wishes he could go back and make during his two stints as Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld smiled, and said, "Well sure, read about them in the book!"

That's what brought Rumsfeld to Fort Bliss. He was signing copies of his memoir, a New York Times best seller, "Known and Unknown." He wrote about his time as Secretary of Defense and White House chief of staff. Proceeds from the book sales go to support veteran's charities supported by the Rumsfeld Foundation.

Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.